It’s all in Perspective & Purpose

I used to not like summer at all. Way too hot! The mugginess got to me, giving me headaches, and the lazy days just dragged on forever.. And all that mud in the spring was enough to stir dread of the next round, almost before the season was over… and what a way to precede summer!

Fall was pretty good; nice and cool with colourful leaves, but then boring and cold after the leaves fell. Winter seemed the perfect season. Cold, yes, but the beauty of pure white everywhere… and what’s better than looking out at all that prettiness with a cup of hot cocoa? Not to mention surfing snow drifts with a little car.. So winter was it. My favourite season.

That was all before last summer… in the days when I considered myself to be anything but a gardener. But that all changed when we did our front yard in August 2014. It was a bit of a ‘hope it looks okay mosaic piece of art’ I brainstormed even as we spent a week slaving over it. To my relief, it looked pretty good, when all was said and done. And I found myself looking forward to when the plants had taken deeper root.

This year, with time and nurturing, it’s all been stunning! I like sitting on my front porch for my morning coffee, or watch the birds steal drinks from the fountain, on a hot day, or sit on my bench. And I enjoy cool evenings, with nature alive around me…. except the misquitos… they chase me back in and I wouldn’t mind at all if they were less alive.

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In a few weeks I plan on popping in a bunch of spring-flower-bulbs I’ve never had before… And I find myself thinking about next spring and totally looking forward to it already! … and here I sit, on a beautiful fall evening, loving life, loving my garden, and loving the season….

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Life is like that… everything takes on meaning, with just a slight change in perspective. Hot days are not so hot, when there is a purpose, like growing flowers. And the hard times, when it feels like there’s mud everywhere, and we feel stuck and purposeless…. and then the flowers begin to poke out of that mud, as new life unfolds, having pushed through that dark and hopeless places… and the realization strikes that life is birthed in dark regions… and that life seems that much more glorious, in contrast.

Season by season, the awareness registers that we become stronger and more whole, with the experience of the years. Whether in committed relationship, or wisdom, or any other growth… Just like the Delphiniums grow taller and stronger, with each passing year, so we grow with trials, struggles and tragedies. Sure, sometimes the struggles knock us down–like the heavy rains and winds this summer, knocking down those electric blue flowers, breaking stems–and we feel lifeless. But like my flowers, that bounced back in full bloom this fall, our spirits are resilient, and we rise again.

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And, with time, we embrace the changing season and the up and down of life, weeping now and then when it’s hard, but mostly loving life and realizing that every experience serves a purpose. And our trust in God is strengthened with the awareness that He loves us in every season, in the rise and fall of our humanity. He is not daunted by it, neither is He swayed. He simply is. He is God. He is good. He is love.

~ T ~

© Trudy Metzger

Gardens & Flowers and Summer Things…

The past few weeks have been busy, fun, exciting and all around lovely. Having said that, my finger nails are stained–even though I mostly wore gardening gloves–and several sunburned spots are still peeling and healing, and I’ve spent more time in grungy, muddy clothes than I have in years.

July 7, 2008 we took possession of our house which, at that time, had only dirt around it. Not a speck of green vegetation, other than the weeds. The grass went in shortly thereafter, but that’s where it stayed, until this spring. I enjoy flowerbeds and plants but I like to plan them around things like side-walks and steps. And until this year we only had a set of temporary cement steps with a cement tile walkway. It worked.

Several week ago we had a gentleman put in stamped concrete steps and side-walk. And one thing led to another, which led to another and we ended up turning our front yard into a garden. It was only supposed to be a flowerbed around the side-walk, curving around a bit by the road, and again down from the house, with three trees, none of which get super huge, except the Fat Albert Blue Spruce. That one, while shorter than most blue spruce, gets some height to it.  And that would all of worked out, except that I don’t know as much about trees and perennials as I wish I did. Having determined that perennial garden is the way to go, I sought the advice of a neighbour who has many gorgeous flowerbeds, years of experience and designs flowerbeds.

She looked at what I had chosen, for plants and trees, along with my ideas of where I thought I’d plant them, and informed me that everything would be overgrown in a few years, and plants would crowd each other out. To this I said, “What would you advise?” and that set everything in motion.

She started rearranging plants and trees (also taking into consideration the things I still wanted to add) and that’s how it happened that our front yard turned into a garden….  I drew a diagram, wrote down the names of low-maintenance plants she recommended, and presented the plan to Tim. Here is the not-quite-completed result:

(Before you look, let your imagination take over, and picture everything about 3 to five years from now,  nice and filled out, and this little haven in the middle, with a nice centre piece–maybe a fountain, or a bench/chair, or perhaps a bird bath–and a tall solar-powered post lamp… )

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAIn the back yard we planted a trio of Fat Albert spruce trees, in the far corner, to hide where our neighbours’ fences meet. On neighbour has a nice fence, the other, not so much. But the two meeting partway on our property creates a bit of an eye sore. Well, eye sore no more… when these trees grow a bit taller…

In spite of the beautiful weather–not too hot, and not too cold–I find myself saying things that make my family and friends cringe. I don’t love heat, making this summer the best in many years for me. Even on the very hot days we’ve had cooler nights, creating my dream summer.  None-the-less, I am conditioned to loving snow and say things like, “I can’t wait to see what it looks like covered in (a dusting) of snow,” and other wintery statements that slip past my lips, causing family and friends to cringe. To them it seems like the snow only finished melting yesterday, and the trauma of it has not yet worn off… But, after this project, I think Tim might have a new appreciation for snow and all things winter, even shovelling. It’s still much lighter than carrying rocks.

Tim had the past week off and took charge of the project, investing his time and energy to get it done. Having messed up my back a few weeks ago, there were days I was completely useless, other than to give a thumbs up or thumbs down to ideas and suggestions. And, while neither of us is avid gardeners–and even though one of us loves more flowers, the other more greenery, one loves grass, the other rocks, one favours birds and bird baths… if only because they attract birds… and the other would choose a more practical centre piece –we do enjoy the outdoors and will get many hours of pleasure from the garden.

It was also a wonderful opportunity to get to know our neighbours better–Mahlon and Isobel Frey–and spend time working together in their yard and ours. Isobel and I went plant shopping together one day, and we made it to each other’s gardens several times on most other days. We’ve always gotten along well, but through this experience we have developed a friendship and laid groundwork for an ongoing relationship.

As we sweated and sunburned ourselves to get the job done, it struck me, the irony of things. We were created to enjoy gardens, plants, animals and the great outdoors. There, in the buff, we were going to live happily ever after, oblivious to our naked state, and indulging in the wonder of creation, all while in blissful relationship with the Creator. Now we pay for trees and flowers, and fight against the elements to recreate whatever notion we have of what a garden should be, muddying up the clothes we made or purchased, to hide that nakedness.

And that is all included in the price tag for sin… the cost for the knowledge of good and evil. Oh, Adam and Eve, what were you thinking? And that’s about how deep my theological thoughts ran this week…

It has been a lovely break, getting my hands back in the soil, staining my fingers a little, and getting the dirt stuck under my nails. (Gloves don’t cut it for this girl… they would need to reach to my elbows and be made of rubber…)  It’s been a time of mental rest, spiritual tranquillity, and inner refreshing. Clients are enjoying their summer break, and I am taking a much needed hiatus from meeting with people–fitting in only the occasional session–so that I can do summer things and finish up my book.  And even my book got put on hold for seven days, for the sake of this garden.

Tomorrow it is back to normal life and routine, and the thrill of watching plants grow. I am thankful for a project almost complete, a wonderful husband to help me get it done (the gentlemen reading this understand what the word ‘help’ means here), kind neighbours to interact with,  income tax refund to pay for it, and a God who loves us as we bumble and stumble through life.

It’s a beautiful world!

© Trudy Metzger

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